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Breaking News!: Rich People Are Lame

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No this is not the first, Gwyneth-related post, (and yes, she is my “white whale”) I was inspired by this link my sister sent me today, when we were idly G-chatting about bullshit, to discuss why Gwyneth Paltrow and her wealthy peers makes Broke-Ass-itude so appealing.

Having been a long time disgustee of Gwyneth’s brand of self-satisfied entitlement, I was pleased to see that I was not alone. Since the launch of the stickily-named 'œGOOP', her 'œlifestyle' newsletter , criticism of her snooty condescension has been rampant.

While it could be easy to write her off as just another harmlessly out of touch child of New York privilege, GP’s seemingly blithe indifference to the realities of life faced by 90% of the inhabitants of her city makes her smug elitism both offensive and irresponsible.  You would think that a woman who smeared paint on her face, donned an 'œethnic' neckpiece and stared beatifically out at the world just above the words I AM AFRICAN would be a little less shameless about her total and utter disregard for those of us who didn’t coast through life on our dad’s St.Elsewhere money, but you’d be wrong.  Taken to task for the glib, lordly advice on GOOP, Gwyneth graciously replied 'œFuck the haters'I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.' Perish the thought. But you could at least pretend to have some respect for the people who do.

Several years ago I read an interview with Gwyneth that stoked the fires of my raging dislike.  Prior to that she was just some lady who was only in bad movies (Fine. I liked Sliding Doors) with shiny yellow hair and who appeared to smell like insanely expensive night cream. This interview however, was intended to help me get to know the 'œreal' Gwyneth, so a segment of the interview was devoted to talking about her 'œcrazy schedule' and the whirlwind life that a person who is married to Coldplay and has two children by him inevitably lead.  When asked to describe a typical day, she rattled off a list of activities that sounded to me like a vacation schedule:

Wake up, breakfast with the family, a nice long yoga class, a little shopping, lunch with a friend, home with the kids again and then a restaurant dinner with her husband.

'œPretty glamorous, huh?,' she added smugly, attempting sarcasm.  She was, ostensibly, deluded enough to believe that these activities were folksy and typical; the better to convince us yokels of her humanity.  Actually,that is pretty glamorous.  Unless of course, I missed the part of the interview where she talked about waking up at 6 am, showering, getting the kids fed, dressed and packed up for the public school  she drives them to on the way to her thankless 9-5 job.

A couple of weeks ago around 9 o’clock, my boyfriend and I were walking by a building in the West Village with an amazing roof garden you could see from the street.  There was clearly something going on inside and we decided to check it out.  A headset-wearing bouncer asked us if we were there “for the event” to which we nodded. He led us inside.  What we found in the insanely beautiful space, was a very high-end dinner/auction for some foundation to support the citizens of a particularly indigent part of South America. We hung out in the back drinking free drinks from the bar and watching as Donna Karan, Christie Brinkley, Padma Lakshmi and Russell Simmons made urgent pleas about how important it is to donate. From where my boyfriend and I were hiding standing, we could see the attendees paddles going up as they paid astronomical amounts of money for absurd items: $10,000 for a day of shopping and lunch with Donna Karan, $8,000 for a painting done by one of the South American children (how much of that will he and his family see?) and so on and so forth.  I felt like climbing on stage, talking about my student loan debt and seeing if anyone in the crowd wanted to “sponsor” me.

It reminded me a little bit of Gwyneth. 'œMy life is good because I’m not passive about it' Gwyneth writes on GOOPs home page.  Actually, your life is good because your dad was rich.  And now you’re rich. And your kid’s lives will be good not because they are good people, or nice people, but because their parents are rich.  Charity events like this are meant to support “good causes” but I suspect are meant to assuage feelings of obliviousness among the very rich.   Gwyneth, speaking as she does about people less financially secure than herself outs herself as a spoiled milquetoast-bohemian princess woefully out-of touch with reality.

As glamorous as the event was– gorgeous candles, flowers, fancy table settings, gift bags– the predominant feeling was one of utter pretense.  The guests all seemed most interested in impressing each other with their bids during the auction portion, but would turn chatty, fidgety and  utterly uninterested anytime anyone would talk about the actual cause they were there to support. It didn’t seem like a gathering of friends or like minded people, but more like a group of fake, competitive frenemies, where everyone pretends to like each other but is secretly just waiting to see who gets too wasted and makes an ass of themselves.

After about two hours of free booze,wandering around the building and listening to millionaires pat themselves on the back  my boyfriend and I headed home across the river to Brooklyn. As we sat silently in the cab , crossing the Manhattan bridge my boyfriend turned to me.

“I can’t believe how fucking boring that party was, even with all that money.  If that’s what being rich is like I’ll stay broke forever.”

Amen.

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BAS Writers

BAS Writers

BAS Writers is mostly a collection of articles written by people for the early days of this site. Back then nobody knew that snarky articles they were writing could come back and haunt them when job searching a decade later.

18 Comments

  1. July 2, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I’ve been subscribed to GOOP for a while now (just got my latest missive today) and it gives me a wonderful frisson of guilty pleasure every time I read it and get to mentally rewrite it for poor clueless Gwyneth.

  2. July 2, 2009 at 9:26 am

    […] anyway, I read this article this morning on Broke-Ass Stuart’s website — Newsflash: Rich People Are Lame — and I just had to share. It pretty much sums up how I feel but puts it much better than I […]

  3. July 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Amen is right, sister.

  4. BAS Writers

    @tangobaby
    I also subscribe to it and get the same burst of guilty pleasure upon opening it!
    Her overuse of the thesaurus function on Microsoft Word coupled with her near-constant aside that every famous individual from Valentino, to Deepak Chopra to the guy who invented some kind of electronic car is “a dear friend” make each GOOPy word a schadenfreudian delight.

  5. Ryan Miller- Depleted Resource Analyst
    shitbag
    July 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    awww, come on guys. we don’t have to be that bitter. i work for a multi-millionaire, and it kind of makes me sick that when i take the bus home to heat up that half can of beans for dinner, he’s deciding which car to take to which house and what $300 bottle of wine he’s going to drink when he gets there. but he’s still an incredible, decent man. i hate greed and disregard just as much as the next guy, but a large bank account doesn’t automatically make someone an asshole.

  6. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    July 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    @shitbag
    Damn! Do you think your multimillionaire boss wants to invest in the best website ever (this one)? He’d be doing a service to the community by helping keep them up to date on all things cheap and awesome.

  7. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    July 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Great piece Ashley!!

  8. Ryan Miller- Depleted Resource Analyst
    shitbag
    July 3, 2009 at 10:30 am

    see? you’re trying to get rich like everybody else, the only difference is some people actually make it happen. you’re just as much of an asshole as they are. and that’s the circle of life.

  9. J.C.
    July 4, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Gosh, you’re right Ashley. Rich people do suck. I’m sure when a new well and health clinic is being built in some backwater Latin American village, the people will be much more grateful to you for being able to relate to their stifling poverty and suffering vis-a-vis your student loans then they will be to those rich pricks who so selfishly donated their money to the cause.

    Speaking of “smug”, did it not occur to you how smug this post sounds? You snuck into someone’s house, drank their alcohol, and then you sat their and judged them while they donated to charity. On top of that you pondered aloud why they should donate to you (over impoverished people in the third world no less) and you didn’t donate anything yourself. If you hoped to retain any sort of moral high ground (which you bewilderingly believe that you have), you should have at least insisted on paying for your drinks.

  10. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    July 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    @shitbag
    Don’t be such a shitbag. It’s obvious that some multimillionaire isn’t gonna be donating money to the site. The idea of trying to solicit money from a reader who’s handle is “shitbag” is not exactly the way I would go about getting start-up money or heavy donations for a website. Know what I’m saying?

    But more to the point, there is nothing wrong with making money doing something that you love and that other people find useful. Would I like to be rich? Sure, who wouldn’t. Is my life worse because I’m not? Absolutely not! My life is blessed in innumerable ways.

    The thing is, any schmuck who puts their mind to it can get and MBA and make a ton of money by working 80 hours a week doing something empty, shallow and unfulfilling. But I’d rather do this thing that I’m doing and live the life that I want. If one day it makes me rich, that’s fantastic. If not, well at least I’m happy and taking the world on my own terms.

    Damn man, don’t take everything so seriously. And if that guys does wanna donate after all, please let me know 🙂

  11. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    July 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    @J.C.
    We here at BAS HQ wholeheartedly endorse crashing parties for free food and drinks. It’s an American tradition that’s deeply ingrained in our culture. What the hell do you think the first Thanksgiving was all about?

  12. Ryan Miller- Depleted Resource Analyst
    shitbag
    July 6, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    just to further instill my point, my boss was one of the doctors on the team that discovered the first case of aids in the united states. after watching all of his friends drop dead one by one, he thought there has to be an answer and to this day leads the most progressive hiv studies in the united states, and he’s the reason millions of people are not dying as you’re reading this message. so if you’re point is that people are sell outs because they make money and you’re passionate because you find people deals on drinks, i can’t say i get it. i’m sorry to be such a shitbag, and i’m not being sarcastic. i just really don’t think you have it figured out.

  13. J.C.
    July 6, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    @BAS
    I guess you’re right. Thanksgiving was about crashing a party for free booze and food. Except in the case of Thanksgiving the party wasn’t thrown by the insanely rich, and later we subjected them to genocide. So albeit smug, Ashley’s party crashing was far more noble in comparison. We should declare it a public holiday.

  14. BAS Writers

    JC: just for your edification,this wasn’t a party at someone’s home it was an event at a large event venue.
    In addition, paying for drinks was not permitted as it was an open bar which the attendees had paid for in their ticket price. Bartenders were not even permitted to take tips. So yes, I guess I should write Russell Simmons a check for the $30 of vodka that I consumed. Thanks for reading!

  15. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    July 8, 2009 at 9:41 am

    @Shitbag

    I’m afraid you’re still horribly missing the point. There is no such thing as “selling out” except in a case where you espouse one believe and completely change it for monetary gain. Or unless your Dennis Miller. People who make money doing what they love and are passionate about, aren’t sell outs, they’re fucking awesome. My dream in life is to make a living doing something that I love. You’re boss is doing something righteous and he’s made a lot of money doing it. That is fantastic!

    The thing that you’re missing is that in this piece, Ashley’s obviously not saying that every rich person in the world is awful. What she’s saying is awful is that, for the people at this party she crashed, doing good things is a form of keeping up with the Joneses. She’s saying that everyone is so focused on how much everyone else is spending that they lose touch with what the event is actually about.

    There’s nothing wrong with being rich but there is something wrong with living a life that is overly excessive.

  16. jennyegee
    July 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Great article indeed. I just can’t believe that you guys really think Gwyneth writes for her own website. Please. She’s too busy with her long yoga classes, lunches with friends and frivolous shopping sprees to WRITE. Plus, I refuse to believe for a moment that she knows how to string together more than 6 words to construct an actual sentence with any meaning behind it. Or that she knows how to type. No, she pays her minions $25k per year to do that for her.

  17. Ryan Miller- Depleted Resource Analyst
    shitbag
    July 8, 2009 at 11:36 am

    my apologies. i’m a fan of this site, if you ever need a guest feature on how to get blackout drunk eight nights a week without spending more than $5 a night, i’m your guy. love you.

  18. shreder
    August 28, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Luv the articles, shows the true nature of these so called rich Philathorpists…